This Blog was written by Robert Boyd
Absurd as the title may suggest, this is a possibility. The technology now exists for a robot to tweet, send and reply to text messages and post on social media profiles after a person’s death.
The Artificial Intelligence(AI) will mimic the deceased’s personality and recreate communications in the same style as they would while they were alive, even taking on their sense of humour.
There are sites out there that deal with how to prepare online legacy when you pass away, including Facebook, Twitter, and some even detail how to record a video message to your profile after you pass. Creating a digital version of oneself really takes this to the next level and is totally unchartered territory from a legal and practical perspective.
For our industry, as AI continues to develop, we will need to address numerous questions and considerations that will most certainly not be easy.
The immediate questions that spring to mind are:
- Does one gift the Bot to someone or is it property of the deceased owner’s estate operating as per the terms of a Will/Trust?
- If this is the case is it a non-charitable purpose trust, which would have a limited life?
- Does the 21 year deemed disposition take on a new meaning?
- What are the risks of initiating a Bot during ones lifetime? Fraud, impersonation, etc.
- Is this a service that law firms and trust companies will offer in the future as part of an estate plan?
- Depending on the sophistication, is the Bot an entity in itself? And could a Bot potentially become a Trustee?
All questions that I do not have the answer to but it is inevitable that these issues will start to arise sooner rather than later.